[Update: Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick has issued an official response.]
UNICO National, an Italian American service organization, is looking to put a stop to the release of Take-Two's forthcoming third-person action title, Mafia II.
The organization claims that the title -- which follows the story of a young Italian man as he rises through the ranks of a mob family -- is a "pile of racist nonsense." In a letter sent to Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick, UNICO says Mafia II is an "inappropriate and insulting perpetuation of the pervasive and denigrating stereotype of organized crime being the exclusive domain of Italians and Italian Americans."
"Why would [Take-Two] foist a game on their targeted audience of young people wherein they will indoctrinate a new generation into directly associating Italians and Italian Americans with violent, murderous organized crime, to the exclusion of all of the other 'mafias' run by other ethnic and racial groups," says UNICO's Andre DiMino said. "Take-Two is directly, blatantly and unfairly discriminating and demeaning one group to the exclusion of all others. We are demanding they halt release of the game and cleanse it of all references to Italians and Italian Americans."
DiMino is asking for a meeting with execs from Take-Two, a company which he says has a "history of perpetrating its violent, sleazy, racist videogames upon an unsuspecting public."
Mafia II is being release next week, August 24, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. The game was announced in 2007; if UNICO is truly interested in stopping its release, it's unclear why it waited days before it hits store shelves to go public with its complaints.